Q&A with Journalism student and John Schofield Trust Fellow Lola Durojaiye

Profile picture of Lola Durojaiye

“The fact that you have your only mentor who solely focuses on you is a huge benefit”

How did you become involved in the John Schofield Trust Fellowship scheme?

We had two members from the trust come in and speak to us about it at the start the academic year. One of them who spoke to us worked at the BBC and it was nice to get an insight into the different types of sectors there are in journalism. For instance, she worked on climate change and disinformation, not something that would really come to mind when thinking about journalism. But I realised how limitless the field is and how there are lots of opportunities for branching out.

What’s your mentor like?

My mentor is Alex Webb who works with BBC Radio 4 specifically with Woman’s Hour. When you apply for the scheme, you answer questions which make the trust find a match for you with someone in a similar field or the same mindset as you. I am very interested in sport and recently Alex took part in creating the Women’s Power List 2023 which celebrates women’s contribution to the sport.

So far, we’ve met every month this year over Zoom and Facetime as my mentor Alex lives in Manchester. Also, due to my hectic schedule balancing university with football commitments, we stayed connected over text messages too. When we meet, we discuss things from recent achievements we’ve made to tightening my journalistic skills. The fact that you have your only mentor who solely focuses on you is a huge benefit. You can ask them questions about what their role in the industry is like and having that one-on-one time is a huge advantage.

Can you tell us what kind of things you’ve gained from being involved?

Being involved in the scheme has opened my eyes to the thousands of different roles of being a journalist. It’s been a revelation about the limitless opportunities. There are masterclasses at the BBC which I’ll be attending in June as well as online Zoom meetings with journalists in different fields.

Has networking provided you with lots of journalist contacts? How will those contacts help in your chosen field/career?

When you attend some Zoom meetings, sometimes you are put into little breakout rooms or can ask questions to the people holding the calls. It’s nice to see what other people from other universities across the UK are interested in and sometimes you may hear that someone is interested in what you’d also like to pursue.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in journalism?

It’s a lot of hard work, but once you have all the skills of editing, writing, and filming efficiently, the way you carry yourself to gain opportunities will be meaningful if you make the most of them. If you have an interest, ask someone about it, or see if you can contact someone who knows about it. Having contacts and branching out of your interest definitely helps and is a huge revelation.